The Bharatiya Janata Party’s victory in Gujarat, though with a thinner margin than hoped, has come as a morale booster for the party’s Karnataka unit ahead of the Assembly elections in 2018.
Party insiders admit that Karnataka has demonstrated several times that its voting pattern is not in sync with the rest of the country. Even so, they insist that the Gujarat victory is bound to lift the spirits of the Karnataka cadre.
The party’s State unit is trying to derive hope and enthusiasm from the Gujarat victory, especially in the wake of its organisation being haunted by infighting and groupism. Despite national President Amit Shah’s strict warning, there were clear signs of one-upmanship and lack of cohesion during the ongoing pre-poll campaign of Parivarthana Yatra of the party.
In such a situation, the party State unit leaders are rather helplessly looking at their Central leadership to take on the Congress and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in Karnataka as they have not been able to take any campaign against the State government to its logical end. “The Gujarat victory will now enable the Central leaders to commence their task in Karnataka with an optimistic note,” a senior leader said. While Mr. Shah has already taken full control of the party State unit, he is expected to now focus on Karnataka polls by making frequent visits.
BJP State president B.S. Yeddyurappa stated this soon after the results: “After Gujarat, the next focus will be on Karnataka polls and we are confident of winning them.” Claiming that the party cadre’s confidence has been bolstered by the Gujarat victory, he said the crowds were expected to swell at the ongoing Parivarthana Yatra.
Meanwhile, though the BJP leaders were vociferously defending GST and demonetisation in public, they have been apprehensive about their negative impact on people. However, the Gujarat victory amidst demonetisation and GST regime has instilled some confidence among them, though several of them agree that there are not many similarities between the thinking of Gujarat and Karnataka electorate.